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October 6, 2022 SLU Labor Management Meeting notes

*SLU workers met prior to the Labor Management meeting to discuss concerns and met again to make a plan for the LM meeting. All SLU workers are invited to participate in these meetings and take on different roles, from notetaking to presenting an issue to follow up. There were 11 people on the labor side and five on the management side.

Agenda:

  1. Staffing
  2. Health and Safety
  3. Security

Labor opened the meeting by revisiting the purpose: an opportunity to work together and to live our values as an institution; to make it a healthy and more productive workplace; two meetings a semester to be present with each other and make things better.

 1)     Staffing

Labor expressed worries about our IT coworkers. They were working on campus during the pandemic. Now their jobs have become heavier and heavier. It is troubling that they are doing deliveries, security, vax check in addition to their actual jobs. We asked:

  •   What are the plans for hiring more people?
  •   Can they be made full-time?

Management agreed that we are understaffed and shared that there are 3 full time positions posted. Current IT staff can apply. SLU is also hiring an instructional tech specialist (full time) to alleviate the burden on current staff. With these hires, there will be 7 full-time IT people.

Labor then brought up the scope of tasks that fall on IT (e.g. public safety and operations) and suggested that we might need separate workers to do heavy lifting, etc.

Management responded that the full time cleaning coworker was hired for tasks like moving classroom walls as part of the job description. In terms of public safety, we don’t have our own security because it’s part of the lease of the building that they provide security for us. SLU is trying to hire a supervisor for our contracted security people. There are plans for getting automatic door locks and security cameras. When we have events, we need more than one person and rely on IT. Management reiterated that because we are a small school, job descriptions are much broader than you find at another institution.

Labor asked pointed questions about the implementation of CUNY’s 70/30 policy for staff. In most cases when staff change their work location it is to accommodate student needs (e.g. being able to meet with student remotely can mean coming in a bit later to SLU).

Management punted back to CUNY policy, saying they have to implement the policy they are given and reminded labor that it was negotiated with the unions. They said SLU is more flexible than other schools and will honor requests for exemptions and tell supervisors to be humane. Management also mentioned abuse of remote work policy and the burden of more work falling on colleagues.

Labor challenged the conflation of remote work and shirking duties. We reminded management how long the commute is for most of us. We also pointed out that we have students who are city employees who are organizing to change these policies in their workplaces. There are developing leaders about this and we should learn from their experience.

Labor proposed reinstating the health and safety committee as a joint group outside of LM schedule to keep being able to work on these issues.

Management agreed.

Labor pointed out that the CCNY/SLU Social Justice leadership center is hiring an non-unionized staff member through the Research Foundation. Much of the RF remains non-unionized. This position is in part to connect students to unions but it is not itself a unionized position. This is hypocritical for a labor school. We asked whether it is possible to channel the money through a different part of the RF that is unionized, like the GC.

Management responded that the position is funded through a grant and there is nothing they could do, although they see the contradiction. They will explore avenues, bring it up to the board of the RF. Management stated that once the SLU Foundation is up and running, they will become the 5th unionized unit of the RF.

2) Facilities and Health issues

Labor identified four issues on the new 14th floor:

  1. Height of the barrier on the terrace
  2. Lights going off in the hallway and inside offices
  3. Rooms missing air purifiers
  4. Stairway from the men’s room is locked.

Management stated that the terrace barrier is up to NYC code but they had requested that CUNY actively pursue this and will have a meeting to find out more. They are trying to get the motion-activated lights rectified by increasing the timer and promised to look into the stairways. There are air purifiers. Management requested that labor compile a list of where we want them.

Labor inquired about a mask-positive environment and why SLU-specific masking signs have been removed.

Management will look into why the signs came down and said they were surprised as well.

Labor requests that latest COVID protocols be shared with staff and faculty.

Management confirms that COVID tracing continues, as is random testing. They promise to resend the protocols.

3) Security issues

Labor brought up lack of staff at reception desks, problems of ID cards, and concerns about security surveilling workers (Are they taking notes?  Where do those notes go?)

Management responded that the ID card vendor did not deliver the cards, but that they can issue temporary identification. They will mail cards to students. Management has asked security guards about the logs they keep. They assured labor that these logs are not coming to SLU management.

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